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Laundry with a Grey Water System?
My spouse is very interested in hiring someone to set up a grey water
system that uses our washing machine water to hydrate our fruit tress.
This sounds like a great idea to me, in theory, but I'm curious to hear
from others who have something similar. As the person responsible for all
of the laundry in the house (3 adults and 2 toddlers), I am particularly
curious to know if any of the approved detergents for these types of
systems actually get the clothes clean! Thank you in advance!
I love recycling, but also love my Spray and Wash
Congrats for considering a greywater system! It seems so important for us to find ways like
this to conserve, given our current situation! We installed a ''laundry to landscape'' system
as our first greywater project, and it was super, super easy. We also have 3 adults and 2 young
kids. The best kind of detergent is called ''Oasis'' and can be purchased at Berkeley Bowl
etc... it is pretty expensive, but does work for both the trees and the clothes. We've also
tried ''soap nuts'' which are a bit more economical, but I feel like they dont' get things
quite as clean. (We do sometimes use them, and when we combine this with hanging the laundry,
instead of using the drier, it feels like they come out pretty clean.) You can look on line for
details about how to install a system like this, or there is a new book called The Water-Wise
Home by Laura Allen that has a lot of great detailed info.
we,ve had a grey water system for a couple of years now.We water our yard and fruit trees with
both laundry and bathwater and it works great.Our yard is blooming and green and lush and we
don,t waste the water.As far as laundry detergent I feel they are all good.Even Costco has
laundry detergent now that works with grey water system and I have no problems getting the
no water waste
I used Oasis when we were doing grey water and it worked as well as any other regular detergent
we used when we had a regular laundry system. If you need to use something strong to get stains
out, just rinse it out of the clothes before washing them. Here is more info:
Installer - greywater and drain pipe heat recovery
We'd like to have a greywater system put in from our washing
machine out to our yard.
Also, we're looking to install a drain pipe heat recovery
unit. (transfers heat lost down the drain to heat cold
water being used in the shower)
Anyone that you can recommend who can do these two simple
projects? Could be the same person or different people.
hoping to be a more responsible water / energy user
I too have ecolusted for greyH2O systems. Now settle for a
1/8 hp submersible pump, a hose, and a bucket. All
shower/bath water is used 1) to flush toilet via bucket, 2)
to use to wash floors etc. by bucket or 3) to pump into (top
loader) washing machine for the 1st wash cycle.
If a bather is ill, we use H20 to irrigate ornamentals.
We're a family of 3 with a shower crazy teen girl and
frequent visitors. We live in a 2 bd 1 bth Berk. hills 1
story house with deck & sm veg garden. Pump & laundry
electricity is offset by solar panels (installed after
Enron). We hand water our edibles.
We've averaged 60 gal/day for many years.
Grey Water Systems - where to find customers?
I am looking for suggestions on how to market installing grey water
systems to folks who want to do it. My husband, who works in construction,
has created/installed grey water systems for some friends, and others
through word-of-mouth, but is at a loss as to how to go about finding
others who want one. We both think during this time of severe drought, it
would be easy to find those who would want one, but we can't figure out
how to tap into that pool! Craig's list maybe? Maybe local nurseries??
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Grey water system anyone?
Funny you should ask! I recently went on Craigslist to find someone to do a BASIC
laundry grey water system at my house and found surprisingly few people offering
that service. Greywater Action will list installers who have completed their
course, but of those I emailed most did not return my email, and the ones that did
were installing systems in the $1500+ range (starting with ''soil percolation
tests.'') I'm looking for a under $500 job, basically a valve on my washing
machine and some PVC pipe/hose to take it to a yard ten feet away. If that's what
your husband offers, I suggest he post on Craigslist, I'd hire him in a minute!
Hi. I recently wanted to find someone who provides this service and went to yelp. I
found almost no one and felt frustrated so I think if he listed there he might get
calls, since there would be basically no competition.
I think craigslist is a great way to start. It's free. In my area I see people
advertising rain water collections systems all the time in the farm and garden
Spend some time taking good photos and crafting a professional ad. Ask your friends
what their concerns would be about such a system (ease of installation, whether
it's suitable for renters, cost, how it's used, etc.) to make sure your ad
addresses them. Don't be afraid to do a long ad (300-400 words). Then be sure to
repost frequently so your ad is always present. If you notice that you get more
calls on certain days of the week, such as the weekend, be sure that your repost
schedule includes that day so your ad is always on top of the pile and ''fresh.''
Other folks might have suggestions for other venues (local ''green'' festivals,
perhaps?) but craigslist seems like a no-brainer.
I was just thinking yesterday how much I wish I had a gray water system. I'm sure
the timing is excellent for this!
Interestingly, a few months ago I was actively searching for grey water installers.
Looked online first, Google and Yelp specifically and (only) found the Urban Farmer
Store in Richmond. They have services and sell equipment, but couldnâ€™t quite meet
my specific needs. Perhaps you can ask to leave your flyers at their store. Or
connect with other non-profit organizations that have community gardens,etc. If
you are interested in residential work only, then perhaps a past client can
recommend him on BPN. Also, perhaps a table at one of the farmerâ€™s market or
street fairs, like the Albany Stroll would be a great way to network. Iâ€™m just
throwing out places I would have seen you or looked. Sending flyers in the mail
would also get my attention. I know there is a demand for this service!
Maybe a combination of having a website and networking with other contractors. I
would think that leading workshops might be a really good way to advertize, with
the idea that people come and learn about the process in a (1 hour?) seminar which
give pros and cons of different systems, and then you can either consult with other
contractors/plumbers or do installation.
How bout the urban farmer store? The have a lot of irrigation and water holding
supplies and might be able to help.
Or offer an informational workshop at the biofuel oasis?
Merritt college has a robust permaculture program which might also have some good
What about getting a folding table at the farmers market to hand out brochures and
And gardening centers seem worth approaching as well.
If it's ok with the moderator, I wish you could post his info here! I'd like to see
if we can at least switch our laundry to greywTer for our fruit trees, and would
love to get in touch with someone who's had experience!
Forgot to mention, Houzz.com is a GREAT place to market contractor services. You
can even post images of your work.
I'm looking into gray water system. Does anyone know of a
plumber who installs those? Or any other advice about it.
The Ecology Center in Berkeley has information on their website & runs
Berkeley's Eco House (Hopkins & Peralta) about grey water systems & the
system installed at the Eco House. Check it out at
http://www.ecologycenter.org/ecohouse/. There was also a feature article
in a recent
East Bay Express, ''Kill Your Plumbing: The Greywater Guerrillas say it's
time to use less
water.'' See http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/SearchResults?keywords=Kill+Your+Plumbing
I purchased (3) graywater systems that connect to your sink
drain and transfer water through a filter and into your toilet
tank. I love the idea, but was not able to use them on our
remodel due to limited space constraints. You can review the
system at http://www.watersavertech.com/AQUS-Water-Conservation.html
These retail for $295.00 but I am willing to
sell for only $125.00.
We are very fortunate in the Bay Area to have many active people
willing to forgo the restrictive plumbing code and make things
happen. You can visit the Eco House in Berkeley to see a
successful gray water garden, and participate in a Guerillas
workshop to learn how to do it yourself.
If you want to go the permitted way, you can talk to Water Sprout
(www.watersprout.org) who installed the Eco House one.
Good luck. You're doing the right thing.
Try www.dig.coop. They installed the first permitted greywater
system in Berkeley, which includes a small constructed wetland at
the Berkeley Eco House. They offer a tour of that system if you
want to learn more about it. You can get info at the Berkeley
Ecology Center website.
My husband and I made a do-it-yourself gray water system for our
shower and bathtub water. We've been using it all summer to
water our flowers, and it works great. It was really easy to
make. Here are the components; we got most of them from the
1. 33-gallon plastic garbage can for the garden
2. ''Pondmaster'' garden fountain pump 250GPH (put it inside the
garbage can to pump water out into the garden hose)
3. two lengths of half-inch ''ID'' clear plastic tubing (enough
from bathtub to garbage can, and then another piece to make the
4. siphon with a bulb (looks sort of like a giant turkey baster)
for hand pumping water from the bathtub - it has a connector for
5. plastic bucket or wastebasket to collect water in the shower
When we're showering, we catch the ''waiting-for-it-to-get-hot''
water in one of those blue recycling cans you see in offices, and
then try to catch as much other shower water as we can by
positioning the plastic wastebasket in a good spot. We don't use the
bathtub very often, but when we do, we save it all (unless somebody has used
bath oil -- don't put that in your garden!) We pump
the water out using the hand siphon, whether from the bathtub or the
shower. It takes 15 or 20 good hard sqeezes to get the siphon action
going, and then it just drains the rest of the way by itself.
We ran the clear plastic tubing out of our bathroom window, down
under the rafters, and into the garbage can below.
Bathroom is on the 2nd floor so this
took about 50'. Another length of tubing becomes the garden hose -
one end is attached to the pump inside the garbage can, and the
other end is where the water comes out. We needed
about 40' for this. When we are ready to water the garden, we
plug the pump in, water the plants, and then unplug when we're done. Remember
to keep the watering end of the garden hose higher than the
water level in the garbage can - otherwise, it will all drain out!
Our 33-gallon garbage can fills up 2-3 times a week, so that is
how often I water the garden with the reclaimed water.
The water is not really that "gray" -- it is mostly the water
that went down the drain before, waiting for it to get hot. So
it is not very soapy. My roses look great!
We have found that we still need to supplement
with the irrigation system, but we turned it way down to about 25%
of what we used last summer. I also moved all the plants together
that need regular water, so that we rarely need to water the other
parts of the garden where the plants are more natives and drought tolerant.
Our water bill this summer is half
what it was last summer. (We have cut back on water in other ways too, of
course, but watering the garden with gray water has really made
A couple other notes:
Originally, we had the water flow directly from the bathroom into
a drip line in the garden, skipping the garbage can with pump
step. This resulted in some plants getting plenty of water and
others not getting any, and it was a pain to have to keep moving
the drip line around. We then hit on the garbage can, and tried
a small Pondmaster from Berkeley Hort. It wasn't strong enough
to pump the water into the hose, so we found we needed a 250 GPH.
We tried different kinds of tubing, but the clear plastic worked
best - it's softer and more flexible and also not such an eyesore
when it's snaking out of the bathroom window. It's more
expensive though, so measure carefully.
There are better ways to do this, no doubt, but we didn't want to
spend much time or money on it!
I first heard of Grey Water Systems on NPR and I've since read a little and especially
given the water shortage I'm very interested in learning more. Does anyone have
insight or suggestions on this front? I'm sure there are local businesses who install
grey water systems. I'd love to get some contacts of who I can call for an estimate.
Has anyone had good experiences or bad with one of these systems? Or can someone
weigh-in on the pro's and cons? We have a small yard but we want to continue to tend
our garden during the shortage, hence the interest. Thanks for your insights and info.
I recommend you take the tour of the grey water system (first
permitted system in Berkeley) at the Eco House. There will be one
on June 1st (I'm signed up for it)and you can register at
That system was installed by the DIG collective:
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